Lithium player Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) is gearing up for solar to power its Rincon project in Argentina, with a 208 MWp solar plant nearing completion.

The Altiplano 200 solar power facility will power the 10,000 tonnes per annum expansion operation at Rincon – and is due to enter service in late 2021.

Access to renewable solar energy further enhances the project’s clean lithium technology with low energy use for a low emissions operation and small carbon footprint.

The facility is wholly owned by Neoen, France’s leading independent producer of renewable energy.

Environmental and economic benefits

Argosy managing director Jerko Zuvela said that having an existing renewable solar energy facility immediately adjacent to the project is a major distinctive benefit for Rincon.

“Together with our successfully proven, proprietary and environmentally friendly clean lithium technology, and with the benefit of utilising renewable solar energy, Argosy will be producing a high-quality, sustainable product with a low carbon footprint from our Rincon lithium project,” he said.

“To have a renewable solar power facility immediately adjacent to our project will reap tremendous benefits, both economically and environmentally, and further distinguishes our operation as we progress toward the additional 10,000tpa expansion as the next stage of development at Rincon.”

Lowering the carbon footprint even further

Argosy is committed to building a sustainable lithium project, and even before adding the solar Rincon already had a low carbon footprint, with low fresh water and energy usage.

The company is using natural gas for its 2,000tpa operation, but the addition of solar for the 10,000tpa expansion will reduce the project’s carbon footprint even further.

And on the water usage side, ~90% of the brine fed through the process plant is recycled to the natural salar in a balanced/neutral state.

This method ensures there is no impact on people, animals, or natural vegetation.

All raw water will be sourced from natural flows beneath the salar, which will otherwise evaporate naturally if not used, the company said.